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Reform Movements



These factors give rise to the popular image of rural protesters calling for reform and pointing to class economic conflicts, such as the speculator versus the honest hardworking farmer. However, Batchelor's study shows that farm protest in the Red Deer region was fomented by men of education, business ability, social status, and financial success. These complaints were most vocal in periods where low commodity prices met with depressed real estate values. The cooperative organizations that matured in later reform movements associated with the United Farmers of Alberta, among others, were delayed by traditional liberal attitudes to individual rights in making marketing decisions.

The experience of new arrivals to Western Canada gave rise to reform movements that were important in the region, embodied in organizations such as the United Farmers of Alberta and the United Farm Women of Alberta. These reform movements can be regarded in part as attempts to mould a new and and cohesive society that was more egalitarian than existed in central Canada or Britain, although founded upon the ideals of British parliamentary government and Protestant Christianity. These reform movements were based on the principles of social gospel, prohibition and women's rights movements. The Social Gospel was a movement to create a just society based on biblical principles and progressive politics. The prohibition movement aimed to eradicate the detrimental effects of alcohol by having it lawfully banned. The movement was successful in this in the years after World War I. Finally, the women's rights movements strove to obtain basic democratic and property rights for women.




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